We often overtrain as a result of insufficient resting or other variables involved such as stress. Many people need to realize more is sometimes not better and you must have off days or active recovery workouts for your body to regenerate.
In our training we continue to search for the most balance in volume, intensity, and rest whether you are a bodybuilder, powerlifter, athlete, or fitness fanatic. Active recovery will assist you in taking maximum advantage of your body and preparing you mentally for your next strenuous work out. So, exactly what is active recovery?
Let's just say a person who was doing about 40 minutes of cardio 7 days a week for the next 3 months was looking to get results quickly. I can certainly say this person has determination with goals but I can also say sooner or later that individual will burn out quickly. I can say most people will burn out and I would not recommend repeating this exercise routine without a recovery day or two each week.
When a program is implemented correctly, that person should always be physically and mentally ready for the next workout. This will allow that person to fully train hard with intensity as they did in the previous workout with less chance of overtraining or with a dreadful injury that can put them on the sidelines for awhile!
So, a few suggestions I can recommend on a more efficient program and a less chance of an injury should include the following:
- You should always alter your cardiovascular activities, intensity levels, and resting if you want to see results quickly without injuring yourself. Below is an example for the week.
- Begin with a tempo run where you run at a steady pace that is around 75% of your maximum aerobic capacity. You'll be at the point of lactate-threshold velocity when you begin to build up waste product in your legs at a rapid rate during your run.
- The following day will include bicycling.
- Perform some interval running or known as high intensity interval training (HIIT). This can begin with a brisk walk to get blood flow to your body. You'll then run for about 5 minutes and then walk for about two minutes. Repeat this a few times depending on how intense you want to continue.
- After performing high intensity interval training I think you deserve to have a relaxing walk on this day for recovery.
- A long run on this day can be around 35-50 minutes.
- Enjoy this day with your family and friends!
- Nutrition is very important in aiding your body to recuperate from the workouts. Eat well balanced meals and drink plenty of water.
- On a side note, a person should always include strength training and flexibility sessions into their regimen. For optimal results, all components of fitness should include a cardiovascular routine, strength training, flexibility exercises, and recovery.
So, how does a person train harder, longer, and absorb or adapt to their workouts more efficiently? From what we just learned, recovery isn't only taking a day off but strategically giving the body every resource it needs to adapt to the stimulation of previous workouts. The key is taking every step to maximizing your workout recovery. Having a solid base of strength training increases that persons ability to train hard and recover.
After serious strength training an individual will suffer less micro-trauma in the muscles and connective tissues preparing them to train hard sooner. Now let me list what other factors that can assist you in your workout recovery.
What you put into your body plays a tremendous difference in your recovery. Consuming the necessary amount of protein throughout the day keeps the muscle and tissues to rebuild from the previous workout. As well, carbohydrates and essential fats are needed in your diet.
A meal immediately after a hard workout ensures optimal glycogen replacement and rebuilding damaged tissues. Did anybody mention stress? There are serious issues with stress as it can manifest and impair your workout recovery. With the endless stress in our daily lives we can minimize what we can control. For example, if an athlete or bodybuilder were scheduled for a nose job they would have this done in the off-season minimizing the risk of interference with their training.
As I discussed earlier, a light workout can do wonders for a person. The objective is to stimulate just enough circulation and trigger your endocrine responses lightly. Most people will just do too much and they have to be careful monitoring their progress. Often a complete rest will do the trick as well. Remember every amount of energy that is preserved will make much more of a difference.
Alternative practices can include massages which will speed up your recovery. A deep massage can get those areas such as your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and back muscles.
In most cases, a rolling pin or other objects can really focus and target your muscles putting the right amount of pressure for optimal recovery. Another practice is Qi Gong and I personally have seen results. It is also pronounced Chi Kung and more people are beginning to implement this into their routine. At the moment, I'm in a 4 year program to becoming a Qi Gong instructor. Not only has it changed my health 360 degrees, but it has improved my strength, cardiovascular conditioning, and recovery.
| Qi Gong
Qigong refers to a wide variety of traditional “cultivation” practices that involve movement and/or regulated breathing designed to be therapeutic. Qigong is practiced for health maintenance purposes, as a therapeutic intervention, as a medical profession, a spiritual path and/or component of Chinese martial arts.
This ancient healing art has been around for 2500 years to 7000 years in China. The reason the estimation on the historical development of Qi Gong is because it was passed down amongst monks and teachers in secrecy. For example, acupuncture was discovered by American doctors in the 1970s even though it has been practiced for thousands of years. Qi means energy or the state of energy within the person. This powerful art will enhance your overall performance in more ways than one.
Studies have also proved that ice baths enhanced recovery. However, I am not sure most people would enjoy a ice bath so you may consider a cold swim if that sounds better to you!
In order to achieve maximum recovery, I hope you follow a few of my points. Do you want to be another statistic or that person at the gym doing their workout routine with their eyes half closed or practically sleeping? Now, see what happens when you don't follow my advice!